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By Missy Klatt
BOYCEVILLE — With the resignation of long-time head coach Jolene Bird, Jay Lagerstrom moves into the role of head coach after being the assistant for the past several years.
Last year the Lady Bulldogs compiled an overall record of 8-16. This year’s team will be minus five tough competitors who were lost to graduation. They are Emma Ouellette, who garnered an honorable mention for all-conference, Ana Evenson, Tyra Kostman, Megan Hintzman and Naomi Hillman.
Returning from last year are seniors Kady Grambow, Mya Lagerstrom and Jensine Boesl and junior Harper Olson.
Coach Lagerstrom states that Grambow, who averaged seven points per game and pulled down an average of five and a half rebounds, will need to take over a bigger leadership role after the loss of the five seniors. He went on to say that Grambow was a starter last year and they will use her in a combination of inside and outside play.
Boesl and Lagerstrom also had a significant amount of playing time and the team will need their experience to help the team succeed.
Olson got more time as the season went on last year and will help the Bulldogs’ perimeter game. According to Coach Lagerstrom, she also sees the court well and is a good passer.
Others that will be seeing some varsity time are seniors Faith Harnish and Chrissa Kersten and sophomores Rachael Montgomery, Hailey Hanestad and Cambrie Reismer.
Harnish is a strong and physical player and will be in the post position. Coach Lagerstrom is looking for her to contribute to their inside play on both ends of the court.
Kersten returns after a year off and should bring some maturity to the team from past experience.
Montgomery has shown an ability to play well and just needs experience and confidence. Coach Lagerstrom thinks that she’ll be a big contributor.
Hanestad and Reismer bring an aggressive hard-nosed attitude that should help the team.
Coach Lagerstrom also notes that the freshman class comes in with a good skill set and should bring competitiveness into practice that will make the team better.
The Lady Dawgs have a lot of team unity this year which shows on the court.
“The older girls will be great leaders this year and build confidence as we try and find our identity with new younger players,” stated Lagerstrom.
The weak spot in the team, besides the lack of numbers this year, maybe the uncertainty of how playing with masks on goes and the risk of losing players due to COVID-19 restrictions and having to fill in those spots with younger, less experienced players.
Coach Lagerstrom’s goals for his team are that he wants to see improvement in all categories as the season moves on. He remarked that they will need to control the defensive rebounds and need to do a better job with on the offensive boards as well.
“With virtually no summer basketball, we as other teams I’m sure, come in with a lot of uncertainty on both ends of the court, what fits our personnel the best and it will be a learning process as we go,” noted the first-year head coach.
Coach Lagerstrom lists Colfax, Durand, and Mondovi as the top competition this year.
“Colfax every year reloads with good players and the coaches do a great job of competing at the top in our area,” Lagerstrom said. “Durand and Mondovi bring back a lot of very good players and should battle for the top also.” Joining Lagerstrom in coaching duties this year will be Denise Jeske.
The Lady Dawgs open their season with a couple of home games. First on Tuesday, December 1st when they take on Cornell and then on Thursday, December 3rd when Glenwood City comes to town. However, with this year of uncertainty due to the coronavirus, the schedule may be ever changing.
2020-21 Team Roster
Seniors: Jensine Boesl, Kady Grambow, Faith Harnisch, Chrissa Kersten and Mya Lagerstrom
Junior: Harper Olson
Sophomores: Hailey Hanestad, Rachael Montgomery and Cambrie Reismer
Freshmen: Hannah Dunn, Hailey Hellendrung, Cora Leslie, Jaden Stevens and Sarah Stoveren